Tuesday, February 2, 2010

$10,000 stolen from Mulino, Oregon Parent Group bank account

About $10,000 was discovered missing from the Mulino Parent Group’s bank account this month and one of their members appears to be the thief. Officers of the parent group, a nonprofit organization supporting student activities at Mulino Elementary School, reported the missing funds to MES Principal Alan Willey on Jan. 9, he said.
The person stealing the funds left an obvious paper trail, Willey said, writing checks for large sums of money to herself.
Most of the funds were withdrawn in recent months, but it appears money began disappearing back in April of 2009, Willey said. On Monday, the woman arranged for the money to be returned and the parent group received a cashier’s check for the amount stolen, Willey said.
“When I met with her, she had said that she just put herself in a bad place,” Willey said. “She was very remorseful, very embarrassed and regrets it.”
Willey and officers of the parent group reported the theft to Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 10.
CSO spokesman Jim Strovink said investigators have not yet spoken with the suspect and charges have not been filed, but it is awaiting investigation. The suspect will not be publicly identified until charges have been filed.
“At first it was disbelief because I’ve known this person for over five years and have become personal friends,” MPG President Deborah Pruitt said. “It is a nonprofit, so unfortunately it is a legal responsibility to report it.”
Pruitt said that according to the group’s bylaws, the president and vice president are the only members who should have access to the MPG bank account. However, they recently held elections and the correct signers for the account had not yet been established.
“Really, there was only one person who had access to the account,” Pruitt said.
The parents raise money throughout the year by selling cookie dough, wrapping paper and other items and by holding an annual school carnival, Pruitt said. All the money they raise – about $15,000 a year – goes toward field trips, equipment, assemblies, student incentives, swimming lessons and other things to benefit students at Mulino Elementary School.
“The money that’s fundraised goes toward all the extra things that the general fund can’t pay for,” Willey said. “I think we have one of the better parent groups. They put in hundreds and hundreds of hours.”
Pruitt said other parents help with events, but only seven to 10 are active members of the group. Now, she worries that people will be hesitant to contribute to the group’s fundraising efforts out of concern that the money will be mishandled.
“In the long run, the only ones who are going to suffer from that is the children,” Pruitt said. “It’s a black eye and it’s going to take awhile to earn peoples’ trust back … We’re going to make sure that our procedures are updated so that this can’t happen again.”

No comments:

Post a Comment